I wish I didn’t know what I know about sexual abuse. As a child, I wish I’d never known what its like to wake up retching from the red hot sting of shame caused by what someone older and bigger has done to you. I wish I didn’t know how the stains on your soul can be so sickening, the repulsion so strong, that nourishing your own body disgusts you. I wish I didn’t know what it’s like to be a ten year old girl, sitting with a school counselor every day, weeping, because they are making you eat. I wish I’d never known what it’s like to fall asleep at a gathering of friends, and wake up to unwelcome hands inside your clothing. Or to finally love someone deeply, spending hundreds of hours with them before learning that they struggle with sex addiction and have harmed children in the past. I wish I didn’t know what it was like to watch a close friend discover that her husband struggles with pedophilia. Or to unearth a secret, so buried within your own family that the walls crumble around you when it comes to light. I wish I didn’t know these things.
And I wish it wasn’t true that 1 in 10 children will be sexually assaulted before the age of 18. Maybe then, I could watch my kids wrestle, tickle and play with others without remembering how these can be grooming behaviors, or how 92 percent of sex offenders are known and trusted by their victims. I wish it wasn’t true that sex offenders are inconspicuous, that they can be nice, kind, ‘normal’, and even married with kids of their own.  Maybe then, I could gather with my friends for a bible study and not have that deep sickness about what’s going on with the kids downstairs. I wish it wasn’t true that the church is one of the places most vulnerable to sex abuse because sex offenders consider naive, trusting church families easy to target.  Maybe then I could drop my kids off at the nursery without wondering how thoroughly the volunteers have been screened. I wish it wasn’t true that up to 40 percent of sex abuse is actuated by a peer who is older than the victim. Maybe then, I could drop my kids off at a playdate or a sleepover without any concern. 
But the sad truth is that I cannot unknow and I cannot uncare about any of these things. And I cannot be quiet about what I know anymore. Because, though I was raised to be an overcomer and therefore considered talking (or even thinking) about the impact sexual abuse has had on me to be a weakness…I was wrong.
It is sheer strength that lets us leave the place of denial.
And I have now faced the fact that my experiences have impacted me. They have made me stronger. They have given me knowledge about the reality of sex abuse in our world.
I wish I didn’t know what I know about sexual abuse, but because I know it, I can keep my children safe. I can make sure they are never left alone with anyone who hasn’t been thoroughly screened. I can insist that background checks are not enough (I know three offenders who wouldn’t be flagged at all). I can be watchful about interactions (like roughhousing and sitting on laps), teach them about good and bad touch and be cautious when they are with peers.
And though, the world may overlook the prevalence of abuse, and friends may scoff at these boundaries I set for my kids, I can be glad that they are simply blessed to not know what I know.
I want to make sure my kids are blessed that way too.
 Tchividjian, Boz “Startling Statistics: Child sexual abuse and what the church can begin doing about it” 9 Jan 2014 https://religionnews.com/2014/01/09/startling-statistics/